NCAA Golf News

Pono Yanagi Capping off Decorated WSU Golf Career

Pono Yanagi Capping off Decorated WSU Golf Career

Pono Yanagi is closing in on his final round at Washington State. Throughout the past five years Yanagi has grown as a player, set school records, and helped build the Washington State Men’s Golf Program into what it is today. As Yanagi plays in his last tournament as a Coug he inches closer to wrapping up one of the best golf careers in recent WSU Men’s Golf history.

Yanagi hails from Hilo, Hawaii where he had been competing in golf tournaments since he was four years old. Naturally, playing collegiate golf was always in the cards for Yanagi but seeing his sister play at the collegiate level made it even more within sight.

Yanagi’s sister, Nani Yanagi, spent four years here in Pullman playing as a part of the women’s golf team, and this influenced her brother to follow in her footsteps.

“My sister played for WSU from 2012-2016, so when I was in the recruiting process I reached out,” Yanagi said. “I was fortunate enough to have my foot in the door at an early time, but I was definitely the first to reach out because I wanted to play for WSU.”

Yanagi added that he fell in love with Pullman long before he was committed to playing golf here. 

“I came to Pullman during my sister’s official visit, I was in middle school at the time. I got to see the town and I loved it, the small-town feel, the college spirit, that made me fall in love with it at a young age,”  Yanagi explained.

With the goal of coming to WSU to play golf, the dream looked more and more likely as Yanagi became one of the top junior players in the Hawaii area. He competed in events like the BIIF Championships, NHSGA Hawaii Boys High School Golf Championships, and even placed second at the 2018 Big Island Amateur Championship.

With a growing resume, ties to the university, and a clear desire to play for WSU, it did not come as a surprise when in November of 2018 Yanagi finally signed with the Washington State Men’s Golf team.

Yanagi made the team for his first tournament as a freshman in the 2019-20 season at the Husky Invitational where he finished tied for 74th and shot 12 over. While this may not have been the result Yanagi wanted, he knew that during the early part of his career there was an opportunity to learn from tournament.

“Coming in as a freshman I had an open mind. I played in tournaments and learned everything I could from them,” Yanagi said. “Then once I get older, apply what…


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